Cirsova Publishing Doing Reprints?

I’ve had more than a couple of writers ask me if Cirsova would be interested in buying previously published stories to reprint in Cirsova. Up to this point, my answer has been “No” for several reasons.

  • First, one of the selling points of Cirsova is that we are offering new and exclusive content that can’t be found anywhere else.
  • Second, if a story has been published elsewhere, especially if it has been self-published, that puts a new issue of Cirsova in competition with that work in a way that may not be beneficial to either Cirsova or the author.
  • Third, it would not make sense for us to pay the same rates for a non-exclusive story as an exclusive story. I want to keep Cirsova paying semi-pro rates, but I can’t currently justify those rates for reprint stories while paying the same as I would for exclusivity.

Still, I’ve had a lot of inquiries about reprints and have been brainstorming on the matter. I have a couple thoughts:

  • A reprinted story has less “value” to Cirsova than an exclusive story, so it would make sense to pay a lower rate.
  • A reprinted story would require a different agreement between Cirsova and the Authors of the story. (i.e., we would not be purchasing first rights, exclusivity, etc., just whatever necessary mechanical rights to include them in an anthology).
  • It would make the most sense for us to do separate issues/anthologies, keeping Cirsova Magazine a Semi-Pro market featuring original content while creating a new, offshoot title to showcase reprints, a sort of “best of indie” meets “in case you missed it”.

Given that we’re in the midst of an anti-gatekeeper movement, I find it ironic that I’m essentially in a position where I’m asking people “Is my gatekeeping enough of a selling point that I should consider this?”

At least from an author’s perspective, the answer may be yes – the belief that they can reach a wider readership with their work via Cirsova is a real thing (even if I can hardly believe it myself!), and bringing great stories to the masses is something I’m passionate about. And enough authors have approached me about reprints that I’ve begun to seriously consider.

I put our current regular readership at roughly 150. If we get 100 more yeses than nos, I’ll whip up a framework for a new Cirsova annual spin-off.

Note: This title would have no bearing on what would be acquired for Cirsova HF&SF; it would be a wholly new publication under the Cirsova “banner”. Think of it like a “Tops In Science Fiction” vs. Planet Stories proper, only we’d be reprinting other stories rather than those featured in Cirsova HF&SF.

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12 responses to “Cirsova Publishing Doing Reprints?

  1. My “yes” comes with caveats. (And I’m an author, so my vote may not count for much….)

    The reprint would have to be pretty special. And we’re talking maybe one or two reprints per issue. The reprint should be something that really nails the style of the magazine, not just ‘a good story’ but something that would have been perfect if it hadn’t already seen publication. And probably nothing that has been published in the last 5 years.

    AND… okay, I know this has been done in other newer pulp publications, but the OCCASIONAL reprint of a full-on classic pulp story would be pretty cool.

    But all this is really me just saying, “I’d be okay with it” not “I’d prefer it.

    • Well, I don’t plan on purchasing reprints for the magazine proper; this would be its own title. Cirsova HF&SF would remain all new, all original content, but if there was interest in an anthology series to bring attention to previously published works that would’ve otherwise fit with Cirsova, I want to gauge that.

  2. I say yes. There are probably a ton of stories worthy of my time floating around out there that I wouldn’t otherwise see. I’d say the reprints would be a good way of both exposing the authors to a wider readership, and exposing the readership to those authors.

    So, unequivocally, yes.

  3. My “yes” has caveats as well.

    First, Cirsova comes first. I would want you to do this only if you are sure you can keep Cirsova quarterly (or ideally, even more frequently.)

    Second, establish a distinct brand for the new magazine. A name like “Cirsova Showcase” would be fine, but different typography and cover design. Make it clear that this is a different magazine and that the fiction included is reprints.

    Third, yes, I would expect you would pay a lower rate–you’re not buying the same rights as you do for the main magazine. Reprint rates would be significantly lower, since you aren’t getting first publication.

    Fourth, I would expect the “Showcase” magazine to be a bit broader in scope–it would still be your picks as editor, of course, but since you are reprinting stories originally written for other markets, they are going to be a wider range.

    All this having been said, I strongly support the idea. I have a number of stories that I have placed with anthologies that I would like to get to a broader audience, and I know that I am not alone there.

    • “First, Cirsova comes first. I would want you to do this only if you are sure you can keep Cirsova quarterly (or ideally, even more frequently.)”

      Honestly, the quarterly schedule is pretty punishing, especially for not reaching a break even point just yet (though things are starting to get better). The upside of reprints (for me, anyway) is that I’d very likely be offering lower than semi-pro rates. I was thinking flat $25 or range (all under $50) or something for previously published pieces.

      “Second, establish a distinct brand for the new magazine. A name like “Cirsova Showcase” would be fine, but different typography and cover design. Make it clear that this is a different magazine and that the fiction included is reprints.”

      Absolutely. I don’t have a name picked out, but this would definitely NOT be part of the regular CHFSFM line.

      “Third, yes, I would expect you would pay a lower rate–you’re not buying the same rights as you do for the main magazine. Reprint rates would be significantly lower, since you aren’t getting first publication.”

      Yep.

      “Fourth, I would expect the “Showcase” magazine to be a bit broader in scope–it would still be your picks as editor, of course, but since you are reprinting stories originally written for other markets, they are going to be a wider range. ”

      Yeah; there have been stories I’ve enjoyed, but they haven’t fit into the scope of CHFSFM. The range and breadth would probably most closely resemble issue 4.

      “All this having been said, I strongly support the idea. I have a number of stories that I have placed with anthologies that I would like to get to a broader audience, and I know that I am not alone there.”

      Thanks, and yeah, a lot of the stories you’ve shown me, I’ve thought “Wow, that was really great, even though it doesn’t fit in the zine’s scope.”

      Like I said, the strangest thing about this is the entire notion hinges on my perceived value as a gatekeeper.

      • I think that you’re at a critical point right now–Cirsova is already standing out because of the quality and the your commitment to solid business practices. (It’s sad how many times I’ve seen people comment on the fact that you keep to the schedule you put forth in the Kickstarter campaigns as if that is something extraordinary.)

        Unless you deliberately shut it down, you will become one of the new gatekeepers.

  4. I like the idea.

    Don’t worry about a lower rate – I think that’s a given for reprints.

    Don’t worry about being a gatekeeper – a better metaphor in your case is hunter/gatherer, bringing food to the tribe.

    I like Jay’s idea of bringing in a classic that inspired you. Are they starting to become public domain?

    I’d use a title like “Old Stuff – brought to you by Cirsova”, but with infinitely better word choices.

    I wouldn’t mind if this ended up replacing one of the quarterly issues of Cirsova, especially if the lower cost allowed Cirsova to stay viable, but I’m swamped with reading material, I haven’t even read issue #5 yet.

    Do you already have stories in mind, or are you looking for suggestions? I might be able to come up with a couple for you to look at.

    • Nothing specific in mind yet, and I’m not naming any names, but I’m actually asked about the possibility of running reprints quite often.

      With something like this, the per issue cost would be 1/2 to 1/3 or a normal issue of Cirsova, so it would be easier to squeeze into a tighter budget. But I would only want to do it if our readers were genuinely interested.

  5. Pingback: Cirsova Publishing Doing Reprints? – Brink's Chaos Theory

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